Jody Raphael is Senior Research Fellow Emerita, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center, DePaul University College of Law. She has been researching in the areas of violence against women and sexual exploitation of women and girls since 2001, and is the author of four books and numerous research articles. Her latest book is Rape is Rape: How Denial, Distortion, and Victim Blaming Are Fueling a Hidden Acquaintance Rape Crisis (Chicago Review Press paperback).
This article discusses four survivor accounts of survivors of being sold for sexual exploitation by their parents for monetary gain. These narratives, supplemented by other accounts from 100 newspaper stories between 2012 and 2018, reveal the fact that many survivors were sold as very young children, and the abuse continued through their teen years, blurring distinctions between pedophilia and the sex trade industry. In their accounts, survivors described the motivations of their parents as well as the buyers, who used excessive force and violence. Some researchers are beginning to document the existence of parental pimping and its prevalence, which ranges from 3% to 44% among survivors. Some researchers continue to resist labeling parents as pimps and refuse to view the phenomenon as part of the sex trade industry. The findings from this study raise important questions about what cultural factors encourage parents to believe that this activity is acceptable.
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"Parents as Pimps: Survivor Accounts of Trafficking of Children in the United States,"
Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence:
4, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol4/iss4/7
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